Iran denies reports it will shut down the Internet by August, but National Internet plans are still on

Iran denies reports it will shut down the Internet by August, but National Internet plans are still on ...

With reports emerging this morning that Iran’s final online crackdown would take place in August, completely shutting down access to the Internet, denials have begun to circulate, according to AFP.

A statement from the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology said, “The report is in no way confirmed by the ministry” and is “completely baseless,” adding that it served only, “the propaganda wing of the West and providing its hostile media with a pretext emanating from a baseless claim”.

According to comments attributed to Iran’s Communications Minister, Reza Taghipour, Iran’s ISPs were to provide access only to the country’s ‘National Internet‘ by August. The statements were said to have been made during an interview, in which the minister confirmed that services Google and Hotmail would be replaced with government-controlled options.

Claims were also made that Taghipour said that the Internet “promotes crime, disunity, unhealthy moral content, and atheism” and the government has no choice but to rid the country of these “scourges”.

While Iran’s government may be incensed over the initial reports that it will be implementing its ‘National Internet’ as early as August, the fact remains that authorities are still proceeding with plans to do just that.

Announced in July of last year, the system is said to already be in beta testing, and will include a search engine alternative to Google called, ‘Ya Haq’, meaning ‘Calling God’.

What remains unclear is whether or not the introduction of the system will also be accompanied with cutting Iranians off completely from the World Wide Web. The government has, however, had no qualms in blocking access to everything from Gmail and Google to the official Olympics London 2012 site, whether occasionally or permanently.

According to AFP, Iran’s National Internet system will be fully implemented by March 2013.

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